CI student is one of 60 chosen nationwide to present research in Washington D.C.
Dana Cochran
Dana Cochran

Camarillo, CA - Research she conducted as an undergraduate has earned CSU Channel Islands (CI) graduate student Dana Cochran a coveted spot in the 2015 "Posters on the Hill" event in Washington D.C.

"Posters on the Hill" is sponsored each spring by the Council on Undergraduate Research in Washington, D.C.

Cochran, 24, is among 60 chosen from more than 500 applicants from colleges and universities around the nation who will present their research to members of the U.S. Congress on April 22 and 23.

"This event is intended to help members of Congress understand the importance of undergraduate research by talking directly with the students whom these programs impact," reads a passage on the Council's web site.

Cochran, of Simi Valley, used her mathematical skills to begin developing an automated diagnostic tool for physicians using brain scans to detect schizophrenia.

"Studies have shown that the shape of a part of the brain called the 'corpus callosum' will vary according to whether you have a disease," Cochran explained.

Cochran said her goal was to build a database that would allow doctors to input the scans and find out whether the mathematical coordinates on the shape of the corpus callosum indicate the possibility of schizophrenia.

Cochran's mentor, CI Associate Professor of Mathematics, Kathryn Leonard, Ph.D., said she saw potential in Cochran after watching Cochran ease through linear algebra classes during her sophomore year.

"That's when students transition from computation to abstract thought," Leonard said. "It's something most students struggle with, so I asked her to join my research group the following year."

Cochran had always been fascinated with anatomy and physiology, so she was a good fit for Leonard's research into applying mathematics to brain imagery.

Cochran is currently working toward her master's degree in mathematics at CI with hopes of someday teaching.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.

The California State University (CSU) will reach a significant milestone of 3 million alumni during commencement in spring 2015 and has launched the world's largest yearbook. The Class of 3 Million online yearbook is an interactive platform where alumni can create a profile and connect with the millions of other alumni from the 23 CSU campuses across the state. Alumni who sign up for the yearbook will also be entered into a special contest to win one of three $10,000 scholarships for a current or future student, sponsored by Herff Jones. For more information about the yearbook and the Class of 3 Million, visit